MILTON-FREEWATER – The third time is the charm, or so they say.
But that wasn’t the situation for the McLoughlin High girls soccer team here Tuesday as they faced La Grande for the third time this season.
The Pioneers had previously fallen to the Tigers, 7-0 and 3-2, in La Grande.
Mac-Hi is still the only team to have scored on La Grande so far this season, but that doesn’t mean much after the Pioneers’ 7-0 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday, this time at home.
“We just didn’t have the will to win, the desire or the want to play really hard this game,” Mac-Hi coach Martin Martinez said. “We didn’t play like we had much to prove.”
Give the Tigers credit, they are 11-0 and ranked first in the state for Class 4A schools.
The Pioneers fall to 2-2 in Greater Oregon League play, 5-6 overall, and are in second place behind La Grande and ranked 17th in state.
“La Grande is a well-disciplined team,” Martinez said. “They are well-coached. They are senior heavy, with a bunch of senior playmakers. We are younger. We start seven freshman and four seniors.”
Starring for the Tigers was Jasmine Smith, who had three first-half goals, in an early 5-0 surge that sent Mac-Hi reeling.
“After we got down early,” Martinez said, “everybody just shut down. The second half was way better. They scored only two on us instead of five in the first half. We played more our style of play in the second half, more aggressive. We had two or three shots compared to the first half when we didn’t have any.”
The Tigers outshot the Pioneers 13-3 in the game.
All of the Mac-Hi shots came in the second half.
Pioneer Kaitlyn Slusarenko dribbled up the left side on the breakaway with 26 minutes to play in the game. She shot a grounder just left of the goal and out of bounds.
Veronica Garcia had the two other Pioneer shots, one on-goal.
Garcia knocked a shot off the crossbar with 6:30 remaining in the game and just missed putting a goal in on a nice save by Tiger keeper Auslin McDaniel-Perrin with 2:30 left in the game.
The Pioneers conclude the regular season with two games on the road, at Baker on Saturday and at Ontario on Oct. 26. Mac-Hi has already beat both opponents at home this season.
The top two GOL finishers are given an automatic playoff berth.